Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
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science: a way of knowing about the natural world
Scientific explanations are based on observations and facts that can be confirmed or disproved by other scientists using accepted scientific techniques.

law: a description of how a natural phenomenon will occur under certain circumstances
Kepler's Law of Planetary Motion describes the relationship between the time it takes a planet to go around the Sun and the planet's distance from the Sun.

fact: a natural phenomenon repeatedly confirmed by observation
It takes Venus 225 days to go around the Sun.

hypothesis: a possible and testable statement about a natural phenomenon
Newton proposed that the force of gravity between two objects depends on the distance between the objects.

theory: a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that typically incorporates many confirmed observations, laws, and successfully verified hypotheses
Heliocentricism: the Sun is the center of our solar system.

January - June - August
Current Earth Science students at SVHS take the JUNE exam.
Don't forget to bring at least 2 pencils, 2 pens, and a calculator!

Don't bring your ESRT! You'll be given a new one for the test!

2006 Regents Review Live Streaming Video


"When it comes to DNA, a human is closer to a chimp than a mouse is to a rat."

The image


Yes, there is controversy surrounding evolution, but only among nonscientists. Those who reject evolution present no arguments scientists haven't heard (and adequately countered) again and again, and have no special knowledge that scientists have overlooked.

Organic evolution is so well established that to allow room for doubt is to misrepresent science. In fact, students in science classes should be made aware that particular examples presented in the classroom are but a tiny fraction of the monumental accumulation of scientific evidence supporting evolution. There should be no apology for providing such information, no watering-down in deference to contrary opinions, and no "fairness-motivated" obligation to pretend there is scientific controversy where in fact no such controversy exists.

Bryce M. Hand
Emeritus Professor of Geology,
Syracuse University
Syracuse, New York


More on Evolution:
See it for yourself: AMNH's Hall of Human Biology and Evolution

From the National Academies:

(The National Academies perform an unparalleled public service by bringing together committees of experts in all areas of scientific and technological endeavor. These experts serve pro bono to address critical national issues and give advice to the federal government and the public.)


Evolution in New York State's
Physical Setting/Earth Science Core Curriculum

Key Idea 1:

The Earth and celestial phenomena can be described by principles of relative motion and perspective.

People have observed the stars for thousands of years, using them to find direction, note the passage of time, and to express their values and traditions. As our technology has progressed, so has understanding of celestial objects and events.

Theories of the universe have developed over many centuries. Although to a casual observer celestial bodies appeared to orbit a stationary Earth, scientific discoveries led us to the understanding that Earth is one planet that orbits the Sun, a typical star in a vast and ancient universe. We now infer an origin and an age and evolution of the universe, as we speculate about its future.

As we look at Earth, we find clues to its origin and how it has changed through nearly five billion years, as well as the evolution of life on Earth.

Major Understandings:

1.2h The evolution of life caused dramatic changes in the composition of Earth's atmosphere. Free oxygen did not form in the atmosphere until oxygen-producing organisms evolved.

1.2i The pattern of evolution of life-forms on Earth is at least partially preserved in the rock record.

  • Fossil evidence indicates that a wide variety of life-forms has existed in the past and that most of these forms have become extinct.
  • Human existence has been very brief compared to the expanse of geologic time.

2.1o Plate motions have resulted in global changes in geography, climate, and the patterns of organic evolution.

Ivy League Evolution

Do you really think THEY don't know what they're talking about?

Evolution at Princeton University

Evolution at Harvard University

Evolution at Brown University

Evolution at Columbia University

Evolution at Cornell University

Evolution at Dartmouth College

Evolution at Yale University

Evolution at the University of Pennsylvania

Evolution at Oxford University

People sometimes try to score debating points by saying, "Evolution is only a theory." That is correct, but it's important to understand what that means. It is also only a theory that the world goes round the Sun -- it's just a theory for which there is an immense amount of evidence.

There are many scientific theories that are in doubt. Even within evolution, there is some room for controversy. But that we are cousins of apes and jackals and starfish, let's say, that is a fact in the ordinary sense of the word.

Richard Dawkins,
Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science,
Oxford University